it is impossible to give here a full account of all the expressions and rules of strategy.
I shall only mention the principal ones, and then at once proceed, by an example, to show how strategical combinations may be conducted.
Base of Operation.
--Upon entering into a war, we must have a line for the concentration of our troops, where we
have our depots and magazines, and from which we advance to execute our different plans.
This line is called base of
. The first choice of this line is of the utmost importance.
The result of a whole campaign may depend on it. If, for instance, a b c d
is the theater of the war, if a c
and a b
belong to us, if b d
is the sea, the army of the enemy has for sole retreat c d
. We may choose a b
or a c
for our base.
In choosing a b
, the enemy's army would always have its retreat to c d
But, in choosing a c
, we may advance from F to F′, cut the Army A from its communications, force it in the corner, b
, where it would be obliged to surrender; that is, if our tactical arrangements are, in the engagements, as superior as the strategical were in the directions, one battle and the fate of a state is decided.
The battle of Jena
, in 1806, is an example of this.
Or, if a b
is our base, c d
that of the enemy, we might advance from m
without fear of being driven from our communications, while the enemy would even be endangered by advancing on the straight line m n;
because we would always be able to retreat to a
, but the enemy, having only a small base, will expose his own communications as soon as he tries to act on ours.
See Fig. 2.
Lines of Communication
are called the lines joining us to our base or to another army, which co-operates with us on the same theater of war.
Lines of Operation.
--If the base of operation is of importance,
the lines of operation are still more so. We call the line of operation
of an army the line which the principal body of the army follows.
If there is but one army on the same frontier, the line would be simple; if there are two armies, there would be a double line of operation.
The interior line of operation is the line which two or more armies would follow, if attacked from different sides by different armies, but so that they would be enabled to join before the corps of the enemy could do so. The way from a
, in Fig. 3, would be the interior line; the way from c
, the exterior line.
We call, likewise, concentric lines
the lines of two or more armies or army corps, parting from distant points and meeting together in one point.
See Fig. 4.
lines leave one point to arrive at two or three distant points.
If leaving a, a b
and a c
are divergent lines; if b
, they are concentric ones.
If an army is placed between two hostile armies, so that it can defeat each of them before they are able to make a junction, its position is called a central one.
Besides the definitions already given, we call strategic points and lines all such points and lines situated on the theater of war the occupation of which may be of importance during the war.
We call lines of defense
all such lines which we choose for our defense, or which by the natural configuration permit of an easy defense.
It is evident that the line must be a strategic one--that is, it must be so situated that by its occupation we prevent the enemy attaining his object.
No one would call the crest of a mountain entirely out of the way a line of defense, though it might be easily defended.
Each theater of war can be divided into the three zones — right, left, and center.
As general maxims of strategy we might name the following:--
To turn to the best advantage the reciprocal direction of our base of operation and that of the enemy.
To choose the one of the three zones of the theater of war on which we can bring the greatest disasters to the enemy with the least risk to ourselves.
Example: Fig. 5.
If a b c d
is the theater of the war, if the enemy has three armies, m , m′
, m′, disposed in the three different zones, and if, for instance, our means of concentration were such that we could concentrate in one of those
zones nearly the whole of our force before the enemy could reinforce this zone, we would be obliged to choose , it, as it would at once give us a decided superiority in the following operations.
If no other consideration were to prevail, the center would be the most advantageous point to act on, as it would at once divide the force of the enemy, and render a junction of m
To well direct the lines of operation in defense as well as attack, the interior lines are always to be adopted.
In the defense, those lines ought to be concentric; in the attack, which is just the opposite, they ought to be divergent.
Example for defense, Fig. 6: a
′ attack b
and b′; a
is stronger than b
, and a
′ is stronger than b′;
but b + b
′ are stronger than a
′; therefore b
retreat by b c
and b′ c′
, followed by a
arrived at c
, they make a junction by the line c c′
and fall on a
and then on a′
, defeating each separately by their superior force.
and b′ c′
are the concentric lines, c c
′ is the interior line.
Or, if a, a′, a
″ are attacking b,
b′, b″, Fig. 7, the latter can always unite by the interiorlines, b b′, b′b′
, and b′
before a, a′, a′
can do so by their exterior lines; b, b
′, and b
″ may, therefore, though each one being weaker than the army opposed to it, defeat a, a′, a
″, by uniting successively their masses on the three different points, and by attacking with their superior force each of the enemy's armies separately.
Example for the attack, Fig. 8: Let
be the frontier of a country, b
and b′ the position of the defending armies;
the attacking parties ought to choose the position a
, and advance on the lines a b
and a′ b
′, so as to separate b
′, and to obtain an interior position between them; a b
and a′ b′
are then divergent lines.
4th. No. 3 implies that we ought to choose our lines so that we can always unite our divisions before the enemy can unite his, and that with our united force we ought to defeat him in detail.
The examples of No. 3 will suffice to explain this.
To give the troops the utmost activity and speed.
The above-mentioned rules are the most important of strategy; there only remains to be shown the general dispositions for defensive or offensive campaigns.
Whatever be the form of the theater of war, it can be divided into three zones — right, left, and center; a choice is to be made in which of the three zones the operations are to take place.
Circumstances may be such that one, two, or even the three zones may be employed; in the first case we would have a simple line, in the two others several lines, of operation.
If there is but one line, two cases may occur — either that the enemy is dispersed or occupies a very extended line, or that he holds a concentrated position.
In the first case, the most advantageous point to act on, is the center, which we should break with our whole force, and then defeat each of the two wings separately.
In 1796, Napoleon
, when opposed to Beaulieu, whose
line was extended from Genoa
to Ceva, broke through the center of the Austrian army at Montenotte with his entire army, and then defeated, one after the other, the two wings, in the engagements of Milesimo Dego and Mondovi.
In 1809, when opposed to the Archduke Charles
, whose army also formed a very extended line, he acted in a similar way, and defeated, successively, the Austrian forces in the battles of Abensberg
, and Ratisbon
In the second case, if the enemy keeps his forces concentrated, the manoeuvre against his center is rendered impossible, or at least not advantageous, and we should see if the attack on one of the three zones does not present the chance of our acting at once on the enemy's communications without endangering our own. The figures 1 and 2 will show how this is possible.
When once on the enemy's communications, we close his line of retreat; to return to his base, he is obliged to force his way with the bayonet; if he fails in this attempt and is defeated, he will be forced to surrender.
Examples of such operations are the campaigns of 1800, 1805, and 1806.
In 1805, Mack
, with an Austrian army, near Ulm, was turned by Napoleon
, and obliged to capitulate.
This result was obtained in consequence of the position and extension of the two bases of operation.
Fig. 2 will explain this, by supposing that a b
forms the base of the French
, (the Rhine
,) and that they advance from a
, and cut the Austrian army, which has advanced in the direction of m
, from its base, c d
In 1806, the Prussians were also cut from their communications,
obliged to fight at Jena
and Auerstadt, front against Prussia
; they were defeated, and the remainder of their army obliged to lay down arms, as they found their line of retreat continually closed by Napoleon
's division advancing parallel with them in the direction of the Baltic Sea
In Fig. 1 we have but to replace a c
by the River Maine
, a b
by the Rhine
, and c d
by the Baltic Sea
A would be the Prussian army, which has for sole retreat c d
. F is the first, and F′ the second, position of the French
Should the enemy, however, keep such a position that neither the manoeures against his center nor against his communications are possible, then it is necessary to resort to stratagems which shall induce him to make wrong movements, divide his troops, extend his line, etc.
For instance, we may give our whole army such a position, or we may, before the commencement of the operations, place our army corps in such a manner, that they can act with the same facility against very distant points.
The enemy is obliged to make a division of his force, and our first position must be chosen in a way that, in fact, we may by a few forced.
and hidden marches, unite our entire army on the decisive point, and defeat the enemy in detail.
If we form two lines of operation, we should follow divergent lines — that is, we should place our armies between those of the enemy, and transport our main body alternately from one army to the other.
The enemy's armies, being isolated, cannot unite, and must fall under the blows of our superior force.
The plan of the campaign of 1800, as devised by Napoleon
is the finest example that can be offered for a similar operation.
, with a large army in Italy
, had arrived at a short distance from the French
, with another army, threatened the Rhine
, near Basel
, was to act against Kray
; and the reserve army, disposed on the Swiss frontier, was to act in Italy
's plan was for Moreau
to pass through Switzerland
, cross the Rhine
an Schaffhausen, to cut (ray from his communications, and thereby destroy his army, while Napoleon
crossed the Alps
by the Passages of the Great St. Bernard Simplon
, St. Gothard, and Spluegen, and arrived in the rear of Melas
did not entirely conform to Napoleon
's plan; he crossed the Rhine
, where he was already in possession of a tete-de-pont, and therefore the campaign in Germany
was not so decisive as that in Italy
found himself turned, and was obliged to fight at Marengo
, front against Austria
; he was defeated, and consequently compelled to enter into a convention with Napoleon
, by which the latter obtained the western portion of Italy
as far as the Mincio.
The battle of Marengo
, and even the whole of Napoleon
's manoeuvre, took place only after he had received a reinforcement of 15,000 men from Moreau
We may be offensive in the operations, ever though the war is defensive for us. This will always be the case, if we are sooner ready to take, the field than the enemy; if his dispositions are faulty, his army corps dispersed etc.,
or if in general our numerical superiority is very great.
The initiative is always advantageous, and we decide upon taking the defensive only in case of an inferiority in strength.
The defense can act, as well as the offensive, on simple or several lines of operation; it is always more intimately connected with the configuration of the ground than the attack.
In the defense, the natural or artificial obstacles of the country should supply the deficiency of men, either in strategical or tactical operations.
When acting on simple lines, and opposed only to one, but a superior, army of the enemy, our own army should retreat in defending all the natural obstacles of the theater of the war, such as rivers, mountains, etc. ; it should organize small bodies for acting in the rear of the advancing enemy, to endanger his convoys and force him to make large detachments to cover them.
In making those detachments, the invading army becomes smaller the more it advances, while, on the other hand, the defending army generally gets stronger the nearer it approaches the center of its country.
If by this the difference in force is decreased, and the chances more equal, the army for the defense should pass to a vigorous offensive, either by unexpectedly attacking the enemy or by awaiting him in a well-chosen, strong, and fortified position.
The campaign of 1812 is a fine example of such a defense.
with 450,000 men. The Russian
army retreated, defending only the town of Smolensk
; by the many detachments Napoleon
was obliged to make,
and the losses already sustained, he arrived at Borodino
with only 132,000 men. The Russians
awaited him there, in a partly fortified position, with 117,000 men. What was impossible to do against an army of 450,000 men could be tried against one of 132,000.
When the enemy has chosen two lines of operation, we may be induced to take but one line, and bring our army in a central position between his armies, so as to fall with our whole force on the first of his corps that presents itself, and then defeat the others.
At the siege of Mantua
, in 1796, Napoleon
, being informed that Wurmser, who had advanced from the Tyrol against him, had divided his force and was descending one bank of the Lake of Garda
with his main body, while Quasdanowich was descending the other, raised the siege of Mantua
, advanced, and stationed himself at one end of the lake, thereby gaining a central position, and separating Wurmser from Quasdanowich ; the latter is first defeated, at Lonato
, and the former at Castiglione
If obliged to form several lines of operation, we arrange them in the following manner :--
If, for instance, 100,000 men are to resist an invading army of 150,000 men, divided in three armies of 50,000 each, we should divide our force also.
We form three corps of observation, each numbering 15,000 men. We keep the remaining 55,000 in reserve, and transport them successively by interior lines and forced marches to the three army corps, and form every time a large army of 70,000 men, who should defeat the 50,000 opposed to them.
The two remaining corps of observation, if pressed by
their opponents, retreat, defending every inch of ground, but refusing open battle, till they are in turn reinforced by the reserve army.
In those cases, the defense loses ground, but soon regains it.
If the enemy has formed double lines of operation, very distant from each other, we should also form two lines, and retreat on concentric ones, as shown in Fig. 6; when we arrive at c
only a few days' march from each other, we leave a corps of observation before one of the enemy's armies, in order to mask our movements, and, with our main body, we reach by forced marches our other army, unite with it, and defeat the enemy by our superiority; we then return to the first army, the fate of which will not remain long undecided.
In 1796, the Archduke Charles
, in Germany
, defeated the armies of Jordan
by retreating on concentric lines from the Rhine
to the Bohemian
was opposed Wartensleben, with about 30,000 men. The Archduke Charles
commanded in person the army opposed to Moreau
; arrived near the Lech, he left General Latour
, with 30,000 men, and, with the remainder of his army, he joined Wartensleben, after some forced marches at Amberg
, where he defeated Jordan
; he pursued and defeated him a second time at Wurzburg
, and a third time on the Lahn; he then left a corps to continue the pursuit, while he himself turned against Moreau
, and marched to cut him from his line of retreat.
The news that the archduke had left the army opposed to him reached Moreau
only after Jordan
's defeat; he then commenced to retreat, but was overtaken by the duke, and defeated at Emmendingen and
Schlingen, and forced again to cross the Rhine
— an operation which had already been executed by Jordan
In the years 1758 to 1762, Frederick
was attacked by a Russian, Austrian
, and German Imperial army.
lie resisted those three armies by disposing his own exactly as shown in Fig. 7; he always transported the mass of his force to the most endangered point by means of the interior lines which he held, and defeated the different armies one after the other, and came victorious out of a war unequaled in history.
In the years 1813 and 1814, Napoleon
, in his defense also acted on interior lines.
This short expos of strategy will be sufficient to give a general idea of this science, and to make the following example understood.
Those who wish to obtain an entire knowledge of strategy, and the operations attached to it, may consult Jomini's Art of War
, recently translated from the French
by Captain Mendell
and Lieutenant Craighill
, U. S. Army.
if I choose the rebellious States for the theater of war in my example, I do it only because I know that such an example will be more interesting to my readers than any of the most beautiful strategical operations in Europe
But I must say at once that, in giving this example, I will only give a general idea how the principles of strategy might be apple but I am far from making any allusion to fats which have happened or might happen Besides, I choose my example without consideration of the actual position of the two belligerent parties; and I must also say that I make no pretension to give the different movements as they should perhaps be, if made in accordance with a thorough knowledge of the country.
In short, I adopt imaginary armies, and I suppose them equally brave and equally well organized; and I trace the movements on a very incomplete map, after only a very superficial study of this map.
The northern boundaries of Virginia
, and the north and east boundaries of Missouri
, form, in my supposition, the boundaries of the two belligerent parties.
The object of the war is the extinction of rebellion.
Rebellion can only be extinguished by the destruction of its armies and the occupation of its territory.
Occupation can only be the result of offensive movements; therefore the nature of the war will be offensive for the North
, and ought to be of an offensive defense for the South
The attack requires greater force than the defense.
Therefore we suppose the armies of the North
to be larger than those of the South
Let the one be 700,000 and the other 500,000 men.
The war is to be finished in the shortest time.
The 700,000 Union troops, divided into several armies have to destroy or disperse the 500, soldiers of the South
, and to advance into the very heart of the rebellious States.
The general plan of operation, as devised by the government of the North
, we suppose to be as follows:--
A.-- ||Army of the Potomac, 200,000 men.|
|Base of operation, the Potomac.|
|Orders: to take Richmond, to advance to North Carolina, and to occupy Georgia. |
AI.-- ||Army of Fort Monroe, 100,000 men.|
|Base of operation, Fort Monroe.|
|Orders: to co-operate with A. |
AII.-- ||Reserve army, 75,000 men, divided in the depots, arsenals, forts, towns, sea-ports, etc. of the Eastern States. |
AIII.-- ||Kentucky army, 100,000 men.|
|Base of operation, the Ohio.|
|Orders: to clear Kentucky and Tennessee of the rebels, and to advance to Alabama. |
AIV.-- ||Army of Missouri, 100,000 men.|
|Base of operation, the Mississippi.|
|Orders: to clear Missouri and Arkansas of the rebels, to advance to the South, to cross the Mississippi, and to occupy New Orleans. |
AV.-- ||Reserve army for the Kentucky and Missouri armies, 50,000 men, distributed on the passages across the Mississippi and Ohio. |
AVI.-- ||Army of Port Royal, 50,000 men.|
|Base of operation, United States fleet.|
|Orders: to occupy South Carolina. |
AVII.-- ||Army of Western Virginia, 25,000 men.|
|Base of operation, the Ohio.|
|Orders: to occupy Western Virginia. |
The position of these different armies, as well as their projected lines of operations, are shown in the map.
Opposed to them are--
To the Potomac army the rebel army, B, 175,000 men.
To Fort Monroe army the rebel Army BI, 60,000 men.
Reserve of B and BI disposed near Richmond
, BII, 20,000 men.
Opposed to the Kentucky army is BIII, numbering 80,000 men.
Opposed to the Missouri army is BIV, 80,000 men.
Reserve of BIII and BIV is BV, distributed near the Memphis
railway line, 50,000 men.
Opposed to Port Royal army is BVI, 15,000 men.
Opposed to the Western Virginian army is BVII, 20,000 men.
The position of these armies at the commencement of the operations is shown in the map.
The plan of the North
seems grand; to each rebel army a larger union army is Opposed and the fate of the rebel lion seems to be decided in a few months.
The commanders of the different armies have received their orders, and the operations commence.
Each commander has different objects to obtain; his main object is to carry out his order, his nearer one the destruction of the obstacles in his way.
Each commander, therefore, traces his own plans, but being only part of one
great plan, he ought to co-operate in his arrangements as much as possible with the armies nearest to him.
Let us begin with the operations of the Potomac
and Fort Monroe
These two armies have to co-operate; and they have for main object the taking of Richmond
and the occupation of Virginia
, North Carolina
, and Georgia
Their nearest object is the destruction of the armies B, BI, and BII.
A and AI united are stronger than the three rebel armies B, BI, and BII, and therefore their action should be simultaneous, to engage at one and the same moment the while and inferior rebel armies.
Considering the difference between A and AI, we conclude that AI plays a more subordinate role than A. It is, in fact, nothing else than a great detachment of this army.
The action of AI has therefore more the character of a diversion in favor of A, than that of a separate and main operation.
If B is kept in continual expectation of being attacked by A, it cannot move; and if, at the same time, AI attacks BI, and defeats it by its superior force, B will either be obliged to give up its line of defense or to send a part of its force to the reinforcement of BI, and then the moment for the main attack by A has arrived.
To act a diversion — that is, to make the enemy commit the fault of a division of his forces — the diversion must have the appearance of a main operation; it must be directed on the weak parts of the enemy, and, as it never acts with sufficient forces, the energy of its action and the speed and daring of its movements must supply the want of men.
Therefore the advance of AI from Fort Monroe
must be impetuous, irresistible; whatever may be its loss, whatever may be the difficulties on its way, AI must surmount them.
It must defeat the army opposed to it, force its way through any obstacle, and must arrive at Williamsburg
, from whence it has to proceed to Kent
This last town is to be taken by assault; and as soon as this is accomplished, AI has fulfilled its nearest object — that is, the diversion; it should, therefore, fall back, land take up its position in advance of Williamsburg
, so that it cannot be cut off from its base, but may still reach Richmond
in one forced march, or recommence the action as soon as the circumstances require its doing so.
A has advanced at the same time that AI has, and threatens B with an attack; B, in the expectation of a battle, cannot easily make a detachment, but, hearing of BI‘s defeat, and the danger of BII and of its own lines of communication, it will be obliged either to retreat entirely, and to leave its line
of defense to A or to support BI and BII by sending them a strong reinforcemend In the first case, the nearest object of A is obtained without battle; in the second, the moment B has divided, its force will be made use of by A to make with its concentrated fore an attack on the weakened B B's of defense will be carried; A advances pushing B before it, arrives near Richmond
; the action of AI recommences, it acts against the wing and rear of the already defeated and strongly pressed Army B; complete rout of B would be the consequence, and the taking of Richmond
and the attainment of the main object would be an easy matter.
This, or similar, would be the plan of attack; this plan, on the whole, is easily imagined by the rebel leaders, through the concentration of the Union
forces, and their object is to prevent its execution.
The rebel armies B, BI, and BII, being inferior to A and AI united, but superior to A or AI, have to act with their whole force against each one separately Therefore if the whole plan of A and AI--that is
, of the attack — is based on a simultaneous action, action in one and the same moment of time, the plan of the defense must be based on a consecutive action, or action in two consecutive moments of time.
To bring those two consecutive moments of time as near as possible to each other, the rebels, in their defense, have to make the best use of their central position, and they have to complete their interior lines of communication
, as would be a railway from Manassas Junction
and one from Bowling Green
to King William.
To make their successive action possible, if even A and AI act simultaneously, they have to oppose such artificial obstacles to the advance of A
and AI that they would be enabled to act with their main body against the one of the two which offers the first chance, while the other is occupied with the surmounting of those artificial obstacles.
The amount of those obstacles must be calculated by the time the rebels need to pass from one action to the other.
B's line of defense should be put in such a condition that, even with a very inferior force, it might be maintained for some time against A's very superior force — at all events, long enough to permit of B acting with a part of its force against AI without exposing the remainder of its army to a total defeat or destruction; and so Bi would arrange several lines of defense, one behind the other, that it might hinder the advance of AI, or at least prepare it such losses, and reduce its numerical superiority in such a serious manner, that the final destruction of it would be a matter of comparative ease, and could be accomplished with only a small detachment of B.
A and AI begin their action; they leave their respective bases on one and the same day. A advances in the direction of Manassas Junction
, and will arrive, it the end of about one day's march, near the rebel's position there.
The distance from Manassas Junction
is about 100 miles, and can therefore be reached in five days march.
From Fort Monroe
the distance is only 75 miles.
AI advances, fighting for every step of ground, and arrives, after innumerable difficulties and great losses, at Williamsburg
, pushing the Army BI before it. Bi has orders to avoid a battle in open field, but to defend with the greatest obstinacy the different works which have been erected to oppose the advance of AI; it has to retreat
without exposing itself to any heavy loss.
it proceeds to Kent
, and, arrived there, it retreats to King William instead of Richmond
BI masks its movement by leaving its rear guard in the presence of AI; this rear guard has to await an attack of the advanced guard of AI, and then to retreat on the railway line to Richmond
, where it joins the reserve Army BII, which is already in a position covered by strong field works at Tunstal.
The object of the rear-guard attack is only to deceive the enemy about the direction the main body has followed, and to draw him at once, by the pursuit he undertakes, in the position he is wished to occupy.
It is evident that this rear-guard affair must be conducted with great prudence, so as not to expose the troops to any unnecessary loss.
AI follows with its whole force, and arrives at Tunstal, in sight of the reserve Army BII established there.
We may suppose that AI reaches Tunstal only on the fifth day after its departure from Fort Monroe
, although these two places are distant only about two days march from each other; but we must consider the great difficulties AI had to contend with, and the fights it had to sustain in its advance.
BI, by retreating to King William, makes a junction with 50,000 men sent by rail from B, and, amounting now to 100,000 men, they advance against the Richmond railway line, take AI, which is already engaged with BII, in the flank and rear; they cut it from its lines of communication, and the complete defeat and dispersion of AI is the consequence of this movement.
In the mean time, A, which is ready for attack, instructed of AI‘s advance and BI‘s repulse, calculates the moment the
departure of B's detachment against AI takes place.
It chooses the right moment, and attacks with its superior and concentrated force B's line of defense.
This we suppose to take place on the fourth or fifth day after its departure from the Potomac
B's lines are carried; B is driven back, but not before BI and BII, and the reinforcement of 50,000 men, had time to complete their victory over AI, and to advance to the rescue of the retreating B. This fresh army of 130,000 men, confident by their recent victory, joins with B; and B, BI, and BII, amounting now to about 250,000 men, make an offensive return, forcing, by their great superiority, A to fall back on its own line of defense on the Potomac
It will take the rebels three days to complete their junction, and the consecutive fights and retreat of A will take some three days more; so that, after about the eleventh day from its departure, A would regain its old quarters.
The brilliant tactical victory achieved by A has been of no use to it, because the strategical victory belonged to its enemy.
The rebels, having once more their own lines of defense, and possessing now a numerical and moral superiority, must pass from a defensive war to an aggressive one; but before showing any further movements of the armies A and B, we will turn to those in the West
, and see what is passing there.
The Missouri army is ordered to clear Missouri
of the rebels, to advance to the South
, to cross the Mississippi
, and to occupy New Orleans.
This army numbers 100,000 men, and opposed to it are only 80,000 ; therefore the Army AIV advances straight against the rebel Army BIV, tries to engage
it in a battle, drives it down the Mississippi
, and crosses this river as soon as it finds it convenient.
AIII, or the Kentucky army, acts in a similar way; it passes Ohio
, attacks the rebel Army BIII, forces it back, and follows the retreating BIII on the line to Nashville
BIII and BIV are inferior to AIII or AIV; but BIII and BIV united are superior to each of the two Union armies; therefore they must try to act on concentric lines
, to unite, and to fall upon each of the Union
To enable them to act on such a plan, they must hold the Principal passages across the Mississippi
down, and they must complete their interior lines of communication.
Besides, AIII should be the army first attacked, as by its destruction.
AIV finds itself isolated, and already separated from the rest of the theater of war.
BIII and BIV, in commencing the operations opposed to AIII and AIV, engage in no serious battle; they will only fight to stop the advance of AIII and AIV, and to arrest their movements.
The many rivers that the Union
armies are obliged to pass will facilitate the plans of the rebels, who, besides, have space and time enough to act in, as the distance from St. Louis
or the North
down to the Gulf of Mexico
is from 500 to 600 miles, or from 35 to 40 ordinary days' march.
However, BIII acts more energetically than BIV; its resistance is stronger and more obstinate, its offensive returns are more frequent; therefore AIII advances slower than AIV, whose adversary seems of a more easy disposition; but, arrived at two or three days march from Memphis
, BIV leaves a corps of about 10,000 men opposed to AIV to mask its departure,
and advances by forced marches to Memphis
This town, as well as a strong fort which the rebels should have on the right bank of the Mississippi
, is occupied by perhaps 10,000 men, troops of the reserve rebel Army BIV.
BIV crosses the river at Memphis
, and is transported by rail to Decatur
, where the greatest part of the reserve Army BV is already stationed.
BIII, in the mean time, followed by AIII, has arrived in the same neighborhood.
BIV and BV united advance against AIII‘s flank and rear at the time that BIII makes a stand in front; AIII, attacked by an army just double in number, is completely defeated and dispersed.
The corps of observation which BIV left opposed to AIV has effected in the mean time its retreat, and forms, with the 10,000 men already at Memphis
, a body of 20,000 men, whose duty it is to prevent AIV crossing the Mississippi
until the defeat of AIII is accomplished.
As soon as AIV ascertains that a small corps only opposes it, it can easily imagine what has occurred; if it passes the river, it would come in contact with all the rebel armies united, and its entire destruction would be the consequence; if it remains in the neighborhood of Memphis
, the main body of the rebel army will pass on the line to Hickman
, and cross the river there, AIV would be cut from its base of operation, and its loss would be certain; it has nothing else to do but retreat at once.
The duty of the 20,000 men at Memphis
would have been to deceive AIV as long as possible about their real strength, and to make it lose all the time they could, by showing, for instance, dispositions for fighting, or by spreading false rumors, or even by inducing it to cross the Mississippi
by a feigned retreat.
If, nevertheless, AIV retreats,
a body of 10,000 or 15,000 men should follow it and disturb its retreat as much as possible.
The time the execution of those operations will occupy may be calculated as follows: it would take the Missouri army about 14 days to march from St. Louis
, and the same time for the Kentucky army to go from the Ohio
Considering that the rebels use every obstacle for defense, destroy the bridges, and in general render slow the advance of AIII and AIV, we may suppose that it will take AIV about four weeks to reach Memphis
, while AIII requires five weeks to arrive at Decatur
The 70,000 men of BIV, who are transported by rail to the junction with BIII, will require about five or six days to arrive and concentrate near there, so that the whole operations of the Western
armies, from the day they were commenced up to the achievement of the first victory, would take from 30 to 40 days, or three to four times more than those on the Potomac
Here also the rebels must pass to an offensive war, but their action will depend entirely on the operations of the Eastern
armies; we must therefore return to them.
We left these armies at the moment A had regained its old line of defense on the Potomac
To justify its future movements, as well as those of the Army B, we must refer to the map.
At the beginning of this work, under Strategy, Fig. 1, we have shown the danger of an army occupying a space forming a rectangle, two sides of which belong to us, the third formed by the sea or a neutral country, and the fourth side left as sole retreat.
This is exactly the case with the
position of the Potomac army.
The country where it now placed, forms a triangle--one side being formed by the Potomac
or the frontier of Virginia
, the next by the Chesapeake Bay
, and the third by the railway line leading from Harper's Ferry
The two first lines can certainly not be used for lines of retreat by the Union
army; and the rebels, by gaining the third side with a superior force, would entirely cut the Army A from the Northern States
, and force it, in the event of its trying to escape, to open its way with the bayonet.
If this should not succeed, the Army A would be obliged to surrender.
To execute this plan, which would be similar to the movements of Napoleon
, and Jena
, the rebels would have to leave a strong corps of observation opposite to Washington
, and with their main force to cross the Potomac
above this town, to erect some field works to cover their tete-de-pont in case of retreat, and then advance along the Potomac
toward the capital.
The Union army has three lines of conduct left:--
To advance against the rebels, and give open battle.
To await them in Washington
, by trying to defend this place.
To try to escape by the road to Baltimore
In the first case, the condition of the two armies must be taken into consideration.
If the victorious rebels, with 250,000 men, cross the Potomac
above the capital, and advance there, and this only two or three days (necessary time for the march) after tie retreat and defeat of A, this would only be able to oppose to
this army from 180,000 to 200,000 men, disorganized and discouraged, their defeat would be almost certain.
The manoeuvre of the rebels would be of much less value, if they were to cross with an army only as strong as that of A, and if the latter had not been previously defeated; however, they might even then act with some advantage, as they would risk little more than their rear guard in case of defeat, and, in the event of a victory, it would be decisive.
If A awaits the arrival of the rebels in Washington
, nothing would be gained by it. The only line of communication with the North
, being that of Baltimore, would be destroyed by the rebels, and the Union
troops in Washington
would be soon obliged to surrender in consequence of the want of provisions.
Finally, if A tries to escape on the road to Baltimore
, B can easily overtake it, as the distance from this place to Washington
is nearly equal to that from Point-of-Rocks to Baltimore
These lines form, with the road from Washington
to Point-of-Rocks, a sort of equilateral triangle, and therefore any position which the rebels hold on the last-mentioned line would give them the facility of arriving at the same time as the Army A on the opposite side of the Baltimore railway.
A would be forced to fight with its rear toward the Chesapeake Bay
— that is, with the certainty of destruction in case of defeat.
From what has been said, after the defeat of A the decisive point becomes evidently Point-of-Rocks.
The one of the two armies which first occupies it and the passages above this point will evidently be master of Washington
The two armies, A and B, should therefore make forced
marches to arrive there first; but the distance being somewhat shorter on the left bank of the Potomac
, we may suppose that A gains this point before B does, and will defend the passages over the river.
Both armies being exhausted by the different marches and fights, a few days' repose is necessary for them to reorganize; and we may therefore suppose that from A's departure from Washington
till B recommences operations on the Upper Potomac
, five days more will have elapsed.
During those five days A has taken every means to re-establish its army.
For this, the 75,000 men of the reserve Army AII are called in; 25,000 of the reserve Army AV are called likewise; and the 50,000 men at Port Royal
are ordered back, their presence in the rear of a victorious enemy, and so far from the decisive point, being considered unnecessary.
All these measures are taken, but B will evidently not wait to commence operations till A is properly reinforced.
At this moment it is decidedly superior in strength, and must try to force the passage across the Potomac
above the Army A, an act against A's right wing; the latter is thereby obliged to arch still higher up the Potomac
A's retreat would be called parallel to the frontier.
Though B advances, A would have the advantage of preventing it gaining ground on Union territory; instead of approaching, it would recede from Northern towns.
A is continually reinforced in its retreat by the arrival of fresh troops from the reserve armies AII and AV.
The Western Virginian army likewise receives orders to retreat, to cross the Ohio
in a northern direction, and to unite with A; but, on the other hand, B is also joined by
BVII. A continues its retreat parallel to the frontiers till it arrives on the opposite side of the Ohio
, which would take place about 15 or 16 days after its departure from Point-of-Rocks; it is joined by the different reinforcements, and amounts now to 250,000 or even 275,000, to whom the rebels could oppose only about 250,000.
A would therefore pass from the defensive to the offensive, and oblige in its turn B to retreat.
But B might accept battle in a chosen position, or it might, by some well-combined marches, pass to the Southwest
, cross the Ohio
below A, and thereby gain a central position between A and the Kentucky Army AIII.
These different movements of A and B, from the commencement of operations up to the last move of B, have taken 35 or 40 days, at about which time the defeat of AIII will also be accomplished, as shown in the preceding pages.
The question now is how the whole rebel force should act.
The war, for them, has become decidedly offensive, and an entirely new plan is to be devised.
The positions of the different armies, at this period of the operations, would be the following:--
A, after leaving Washington
well garrisoned, retreated with 150,000 men, was reinforced by 60,000 to 70,000 men from the reserve Army AII, besides 25,000 from the reserve Army AV, and 25,000 from the Western Virginian Army AVI-the whole now forming a total of 260,000 to 270,000 men, who occupy a position on the right bank of the Upper Ohio
AVI is on its way from Port Royal
to New York.
AV, consisting now of only 25,000 men, is on the banks of the Ohio
AIV is near Memphis
, on the right bank of the Mississippi
, and commences its retreat.
B left Manassas
with 225,000 men, and was joined by ByV from Western Virginia
, and occupies with those 245,000 men a position on the right bank of the Ohio
15,000 men, or BVI, are on their way to join B, as, through the departure of AVII from Port Royal
, they have become disposable.
BIII and BIV are near Decatur
, with 180,000 to 190,000 men, and 20,000 are left at Memphis
, opposed to AIV.
It is easy to see that the rebels have the advantage on their side; their armies occupy central positions between those of the Union
; their lines of communication are interior, compared with those of the North
; and, besides, the Army AIV is already placed in such a position that its loss is certain if the rebels make the best use of their time.
The difference in the number of men of the armies A and B is too small to give one a decided superiority over the other in an engagement; the tactical arrangements, the moral state of the troops, and many other circumstances would decide who was to be the victor, and then the victory would probably result only in a well-ordered retreat of the defeated party.
Considering these different circumstances, the rebels may choose either of two lines of conduct for their plan of offense.
Either B, exciting its troops by the news of the defeat of AIII, advances against A before this is reinforced by the Port Royal army, engages, and tries to defeat it — in case of a victory, pursuing A; in case of a defeat, retreating, and making a junction with the advancing reinforcement from BIII or--
B awaits, in a well-chosen and even temporarily fortified position, the attack of A and the arrival of its own reinforcements from Port Royal
BIII and BIV have only one step to take — that is, to proceed at once against AIV, and use every means to prevent it escaping to the East
For this they must reach Cairo
before AIV can prevent them, and, having then the passages of the Ohio
in their possession, they will act according to circumstances.
But 200,000 men are more than necessary to beat 100,000; therefore the army may divide, and act simultaneously on two points-one part, about 140,000 men, may act against AIV and the dispersed Army AV, the other, about 60,000 men, will have to join the Army B; their action is offensive, and consequently they must act on divergent lines, to keep the shortest communication for themselves, and to place their own armies between the divided bodies of the enemy.
The larger army of 140,000 men might cross the Mississippi
, but it is probable that it would arrive too late to cut AIV from its base of operation; and as it must prevent AIV passing the Mississippi
, and from retreating to the Eastern States
, the passage at Hickman
would be a fault, except in the event of its having received the intelligence that AIV was still detained at Memphis
The rebel army must, therefore, gain the left bank of the Mississippi
above the Ohio
, and hinder the Union Army
AIV, by a small force, from crossing, and, by means of several feigned attacks, make good its own passage, and oblige AIV to fight against a superior force.
We will suppose that the rebel Army BIII follows the plan as just explained, and that the Army B awaits its reinforcements.
The conduct of the latter might be considered a fault, as an energetic general would not lose this occasion
for fighting, considering the excitement of his troops and the discouragement of those of the enemy.
However, A, not being attacked by B, must itself attack, before the latter is reinforced by the armies of the West
B is in a good position; and the superiority of A being only very slight, we cannot suppose that anything decisive will happen in this engagement.
However, we will imagine that, in consequence of it, B retreats into the State of Ohio
, and parallel to the river, which it crosses at Burlington
The battle and retreat will take about ten days; so that, arrived at Burlington
, B is reinforced by BIV, or 15,000 men, and a detachment from BIII, or 40,000--in all, 55,000 men.
It could pass again to the offensive; but A being likewise reinforced by the 50,000 men from Port Royal
, no change of importance in respect to their relative strength would take place.
However, A, hearing now of the danger of AIV, will try to make a diversion in its favor or send a strong reinforcement to its support.
B should prevent this by acting offensively, by showing dispositions to fight, and by attracting the attention of A as much as possible, so as to give.
BIII time to finish its operations against AIV. We must follow this army, and see how it acts, in order to carry out the plan we have traced.
The rebel army, in the accomplishment of this plan, proceeds with the utmost speed to Paducah
; there, or in the neighborhood, it crosses the Ohio
If AIV tries to cross the Mississippi
, to join with a part of the reserve Army AV, and to retreat at once to the Eastern States
, the rebel army advances, and, in forcing it to fight, prevents the
execution of this plan.
If AIV has followed up its retreat to St. Louis
, a small corps only proceeds to Cairo
, to destroy or disperse the Union
forces near that place, and to make a junction with the 10,000 or 15,000 men from Memphis
who have followed the retreat of AIV. They leave a sufficient corps at Cairo
to keep this place and the passages across the two rivers, and follow the main body to St. Louis
, on the left bank of the river.
The rebel army now numbers 150,000 to 160,000 men: 30,000 will be sufficient to prevent AIV passing to the left bank of the Mississippi
; those 30,000 men must make some feigned attempts to cross the river, and, with the remaining 120,000 or 125,000 men, BIII must endeavor to make good its own passage.
To cross in front of AIV would be difficult; but, in trying the passage above St. Louis
or the Missouri
, it might be easier, and the result would, at all events, be more decisive.
The Mississippi forms a large curve above St. Louis
The Missouri falls
in the middle of this curve, forming with the Mississippi
below its mouth an angle of about 45° or 50°; above it the rivers run parallel for nearly 30 miles, leaving between them a small neck of land only about five miles in breadth.
The Missouri is distant about 25 miles from St. Louis
; and if the rebel army passed the two rivers, in one operation it would find itself at once in the rear of the Army AIV. This army has in front the Mississippi
, the passage of which is closed by 30,000 rebels.
AIV is forced to fight, and, being much inferior in number, would be defeated; the victory would be decisive, as AIV has no line of retreat left.
BIII runs no risk in this operation, as, in case of defeat, it
might retreat directly to the South
, or it might again cross the Missouri
AIV, being defeated, is obliged to surrender.
The destruction of the Army AIV might be accomplished in about three or four weeks after the defeat of AIII, as BIII would require only seven or eight days to go, partly by rail, from Decatur
, the distance not being more than ten ordinary days' march.
From this last-named place it might reach St. Louis
in a forced march of six or seven days; and if we allow seven or eight more for the completion of operations, this would be sufficient for a very enterprising army and general.
AIV cannot receive any assistance from A, as some time will expire before this one is properly informed of B's intentions, and as, besides, it is too much occupied itself with B. If it takes the direction, with its main body, to Missouri
, it will be followed there by B, and will arrive too late; if it sends a strong reinforcement to AIV, this one would.
probably find BIII already established in a central position between itself and the Missouri army; and in the mean time A, being weakened through this detachment, would remain exposed to the now strongly-reinforced B.
After the destruction of AIV, BIII should advance and join with B. A cannot prevent their junction, as BIII could pass to Paducah
, and be transported from there by rail to B.
The relative positions of the two armies would now be--
325,000 Union troops opposed to about 400,000 rebels on the Ohio
The rebels, with this great force, would advance and take a position on the Ohio
and northern boundary of Virginia
this point being the most offensive of their whole frontier, and by its occupation they effectually separate the Eastern
from the Western States
Here, however, we must observe one thing: operations with 400,000 in one army are impossible; and the rebels, in order to continue, would be compelled to form several lines of operation, giving a great advantage to the Army A, which might now regain by a defensive campaign what could not be obtained by an offensive one.
As this would form an entirely new example, and as the operations already described may give a sufficient idea of strategical movements, we will now leave the present example, and proceed to a criticism of the different operations, so that the reader may well understand why those victories have taken place.
Here I must make some remarks.
In the discussion of strategical movements, or, as it is called, making war on the map, the distances are generallly calculated by a certain number of days' march, each from 17 to 20 for ordinary, and about 25 miles, or even more, for extraordinary or forced marches.
The distances are mostly taken without the state of the roads being at all considered.
An army in presence of a retreating but always fighting enemy, can scarcely march more than six or ten miles per day, and even sometimes less.
The passage of a river generally takes a considerable time, and, before a strong army, becomes nearly impossible.
In the engagements supposed to have taken place, we have made a complete abstraction of all tactical arrangements; we have always supposed that the strongest in men,
and who, according to his force, takes the initiative in the attack, is victorious.
This is not always the case in war, although we may assert that well-combined plans, if executed with boldness and daring, have generally a more favorable result than those which do not possess these qualities.
In passing now through the different operations, we conclude--
That the general plan of attack by the Union
troops was badly devised: too great a division of forces; wrong lines of operation.
That, after the failure of the great plan, the Union
armies, through the force of circumstances, are more and more conducted to a concentration of all their means, and the adoption of only one line of operation.
That the rebels' plan of defense was based on a cooperation of all their forces on a grand scale, leading to--
Concentration of their forces by the right choice of their lines of operation.
They act concentric in their defense, and always make use of their interior lines.
In their attack they act divergently, and isolate the different Union armies by putting larger armies between them, by keeping up central positions, and by acting with superior force against each isolated Union army.
The campaign of A and AI is, in a strategical point of view, lost for them even before it commences.
Their plan of attack may be devised in many different ways; but the result would be very little changed, as the rebels could at almost any time, no matter what we imagine, transport the mass of their forces successively against A and
AI; the only difference, perhaps, would be that the ground gained at first by the Union
troops would be more; but this is of very little or no consequence, as they would lose it by the following operations of the rebels.
If AI is much stronger, this would be but of little use, and the case would be the same with A. The fortifications and lines of defense of the rebels should then be stronger too, and more numerous, and the Western
armies would have to supply 20,000 or 30,000 men from their contingent to the augmentation of the Richmond army; the final result would be the same.
We see that, by a good choice of accidental lines of operation, we may, even after great disasters, save a whole campaign.
We would call the line of retreat of A parallel to the frontier, or the Potomac
, an accidental line of operation; and this retreat should be considered a fine strategical movement, as A, although retreating, prevents B gaining any ground on Union territory, and increases the distance between it and the great Northern capitals, centers of industry and wealth which would have been endangered if it had effected a retreat to the North
, in 1757, and Soult
, in 1814, executed similar retreats.)
A might, perhaps, have done even better in retreating from Manassas
, instead of to Washington
, if such a course was possible, after the first engagements, forcing it to the retreat, as by such a step it prevents B, at the very outset, from acting against the capital, or dividing it from the North
; it remains longer on the enemy's territory, and forces the Army B to follow it in the direction of
; but, on the other hand, it is also more exposed to the attacks of the stronger B.
In neither of these cases, however, can B proceed to Washington
, as, in doing so, A would be continually in its rear and on its communications, and A, being now daily reinforced by the reserve Army AII, would soon be enabled to pass again to the offensive, and place B in a similar position to what its own would have been, if it had remained on the line of defense of the Potomac
after its defeat.
Whatever A does, the pursuit of B should be undertaken with the greatest energy, and the rebels should try their utmost to force A to fight again, and to prepare it heavy losses; besides, nothing disorganizes a beaten enemy more than a well-conducted pursuit.
On the other hand, A must carefully avoid a general engagement, and act against B only when the result is quite certain, by surprising detachments of it, or by attacking it in the operation of crossing a river, and by destroying that part of B's army which has already passed and cannot be supported by its main army.
A should pass again to the offensive only if sufficiently reinforced, so as not to expose itself to entire defeat.
It would then be time for B to retreat.
The retreat of B in the direction of Kentucky
, and parallel to the Southern
frontier, should also be considered as a clever strategical movement,--so much more as it approaches the Western
armies, renders a junction with them easy, and can, by means of the Nashville
and Richmond railway line, reach the latter town soon enough to prevent an attack by A, if this one had marched in that direction, to
take the now only insufficiently occupied fortifications of Manassas
In the operation of the Missouri army, we see that this army, though acting in conformity with its orders, might have operated very differently to what it did.
Instead of advancing to Memphis
, it might have tried to deceive BIV, and, passing the Mississippi
, force its passage across the Missouri
, advance in the direction of AIII, to form a junction with this army before BIV could form one with BIII; then they might have acted together by trying to obtain a central position between the two rebel armies, the fate of which would then have been easily decided.
On the other hand, BIV should have prevented that, in passing the Mississippi
, and in being transported by rail to the Memphis-Decatur line, and to the junction with BIII. In this case, or if in general AIV was suspected of having formed the plan to pass the Mississippi
, the passages over the Ohio
near this place ought to be well guarded by detachments from BIV or BV. The action of BIII should have been different from what it was when BIV retreated to Memphis
Instead of opposing AIII, it should have retreated as quickly as possible, and have tried to increase the distance by every means between AIII and AIV. AIV, in making a junction with AIII, cannot use any rail; therefore, if AIII has advanced too far, it will pay dearly for its boldness.
If AIII and AIV can unite, it will be hardly possible for them to prevent BIII and BIV uniting likewise, as they possess the shortest lines, except that BIII and BIV make great mistakes — BIII, for instance, by engaging itself in a serious fight, in which it is outflanked on one wing and
forced from its line of retreat into another direction, or BIV by not making the best use of its time.
If, therefore, AIII and AIV unite, and BIII, BIV, and BV unite too, a battle will follow, but it would probably take place on ground chosen by the rebels, as AIII and AIV, in order to obtain their objects — being the destruction of the rebel armies and the occupation of their territory — would be obliged to attack them.
The slight numerical superiority, besides the advantage of the ground, would most likely give the rebels the best of the conflict; but, however, the odds would be much more equal than if AIII and AIV fought separately against the three rebel armies.
Although resulting in a retreat, this would be far from destruction.
Returned to the base of operation, they will strengthen themselves by the reserve Army AV, and advance again.
However, this will show better than anything else that the Union
's first plan of operation was wrong, and, even if everything was for the best, it ended by a retreat.
We see, further, in the example, that the rebels made the best use of their time; that speed, and a quick and unrelinquished pursuit of their object, conducted the rebels from victory to victory.
If BIII and BIV, after defeating AIII, had reposed on their laurels, the result would have been that AIV would have retreated to the Eastern States
, and the remainder of the reserve army, AV, would have done the same, and, by joining with the great Potomac army, have formed a body equal in strength to all the rebel armies united.
As a general rule, we can also conclude that great
detachments should be avoided, if obliged to act in the rear of much larger armies of the enemy.
With the best will to assign, in the example, a place for the operation of the army at Port Royal
, I found it quite impossible to give this army anything like a role to play.
It was only opposed by a very small force; but, surrounded on all sides by the enemy, it could not leave its base, without the danger of being entirely cut from it. The rebels, with their means of transport, could assemble in a few days a large army, and defeat it. Besides, if the rebels in the North
are victorious, this army of 50,000 men would not prevent them being so; and if they are beaten, the result of the war would be decided before its action could commence.
Therefore we should reflect well before we embark in such operations; we should consider their enormous cost, and if we will receive an equivalent in the result.
Finally, we should keep in view that those expeditions are dependent upon our fleet; that our fleet is neither shell nor storm proof; and, if we are not undisputed masters of all seas, if the fleets at our disposal are not such that one lost could be replaced at once by another, we place the entire safety of our army on the safety of our fleet, and it would therefore depend on the friendship and good — will of our neighbors.
These expeditions might then become of more use to the enemy than to us.
Finally, we conclude that, by the application of the maxims of strategy, we might come victorious out of a struggle with a much stronger enemy, as they conduct us to
a concentration of our forces, and to fight only when we can do so with superior against inferior means.
We may say that, in supposing the plan of the Union
forces to be the same, the rebels might have effectually defended their territory even with less means — for instance, by opposing the two Western armies with much smaller ones.
The main army on the Potomac
would then have been transported successively to a junction with the different corps of observation, and, with their assistance, the campaign would have ended in a similar manner.
Only the loss of ground at the beginning, by the rebels, would have been greater, and the offensive operations could not have been so energetic as they are supposed in our example.
If we give the rebels 400,000, we may suppose them to be distributed as follows: 250,000 on the Potomac
, representing B, BI, BII; the armies BIII, BIV, each of 60,000 men; BV, 10,000 men; BVI, 10,000, and BVII, 10,000 men.
If the attack on the Potomac
takes place first, B can easily, as soon as a result there is obtained, send 90,000 men to the West
, and; by uniting the different forces in a similar way, as shown in the example, they will still be able to defeat the Union
forces one after the other.
We may suppose their force to be still less, say 350,000 or 300,000 men: even then they could prevent the advance of the different Northern armies.
Their principal lines of defense should be stronger, and their main body should be stationed at Richmond
, always ready to be transported to the most endangered part of the theater of war. All armies left opposed to those of the Union
are corps of observation; and the more
troops drive those corps back and advance, the more certain would be their final loss, because the farther they have entered the rebel territory, the longer and more difficult will be their retreat, and the more easily they would be overtaken by the rebels' main force and defeated,